Santa’s Bday Rush

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As Santa’s birthday approached kitty and Santa felt shocked that an entire year had already passed from when they signed their contract to move abroad.  They reflected on their time over seas and both agreed that a single year can change so much in ones life. They both have felt truly blessed to have been on such an adventure and even more thankful they got to do it together. Santa was feeling a little lost about her birthday as she knew this was closing a chapter in her life she truly loved. Moving overseas, teaching and traveling have made her happier than she could have ever imagined. Kitty reassured her that although the future of the unknown is scary, it’s also exciting. “If your 25th year of life was this good, just think of how great 26 is going to be”. Kitty is certainly wiser as she has almost a whole year on Santa. Santa pondered this for a short while and agreed. She immediately knew that she needed to do something on her birthday to prove 26 would be a fearless year. In 3 short weeks they will both embark on a 90 day adventure of a lifetime, traveling to 6 different countries, meeting up with family and friends along the way, then heading to Chicago for the holidays. Santa will continue on to chase a life long dream of becoming an actress in California while kitty will most likely move abroad again to continue her passion of teaching the future generations of this world. It’s the ending of a great 13 year journey they spent together and the beginning of their own separate adventures that will surely be just as exciting.

Santa made the decision to drag kitty along on a thrill seeking weekend to prove just how brave she was going to be this year. They started the kick off in Seoul where they went to a bunch of awesome pubs, drank great craft beers & met some wonderful new friends. They headed to a rugby tournament on the morning of Santas Korean birthday and sat on the river drinking Cass beers, playing felt ball, chumming with the 711 owner & making new friends. The night continued on at a local pub called phillies where Kitty surprised Santa with a candle lit birthday cake and a happy birthday song that boomed louder than the music in the bar.

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The next morning, feeling the effects of the night before, kitty and Santa managed to roll out of bed and jump in a cab at 7:00AM to head to the bus station. They grabbed some food and water and got on a 3 hour bus out of Seoul to start their day of adventure. On the list of things to do was whitewater rafting, zip lining and Santas ultimate bungee jump!!!

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Kitty and Santa’s guide showed them a wonderful time during the white water rafting as he screamed commands in Korean and scared the girls into a state of shock. “HANA! DUH! HANA! DUH!” (meaning 1,2) Kitty and Santa flapped their paddle side to side hoping they were doing it right. The boat was shared by 2 older korean men and 2 middle school boys. The 4 guys on the boat repeated the guide screaming “HANA! DUH! HANA! DUH!” in military like chants. Kitty and Santa tried really hard to keep up but when their form started to get sloppy the guide threw his paddle down, grabbed Kitty by the life jacket and tossed her off the boat. He then looked at Santa in a rage and Santa dropped her paddle and jumped out of the boat on her own. Kitty and Santa laughed swimming next to the boat, wondering how they were going to survive the rest of this rafting trip with this maniac. Back in the boat they hit some rapids and got a few adrenalin rushes.

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They then pulled their raft up onto shore, Kitty and Santa thought the trip was over. They survived. WRONG. The guide made them follow him up to a waterfall where he grabbed one of the middle schoolers, knocked him over and held his face under the waterfall. They watched in fear as he appeared to be practically drowning everyone on the boat, holding their faces under the water until their bodies started to flail around in a panic. He would pull their heads out from the water and before they could catch a second breath he would shove it back under. It looked like a torture scene from a war movie. After the 4 guys came weezing and coughing away from the fall the guide looked at Kitty and Santa with a “YOUR NEXT” face. They both shook their head in fear. “We’re not doing that” Santa said with a shaky voice but before Kitty could respond Santa was pulled away towards the fall. He grabbed her face and held it under the water pounding down. Santa tried to escape, kicking her legs about as 25 whole years of life flashed before her eyes. Koreans stood around laughing waiting for their turn to be water boarded. Kitty stood in a state of shock and fear. Korea is one hell of a culture. Kitty was up next and after fighting it for a few minutes she caved and let the man almost kill her. As they walked back to the raft feeling confused about what just happened Kitty mumbled “why do I always let you talk me into these trips. This is the last time SANTA.”

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After a hearty lunch of ramen noodles, beers and snacks they suited up and zip lined around and over the river with a new and much nicer guide. The only issue with zip lining was that they thought somehow the speed would reduce when landing on the plank, they were mistaken. There was a big blue mat on the tree that they were apparently supposed to brace themselves for a crash landing. Well, no one told them so after their first zip they both flew head on into the mat in a true George of the Jungle style, they were both surprised they didn’t go through the tree leaving just a silhouette of their bodies behind.

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The last stop of the day was Santa’s bungee jump. Her official birthday present to herself. fearless freedom and courage! She was suited up, climbed into a crane and lifted 200 feet above the river. The guy inside asked her if she was ready and she responded. “fuck ya. lets do this” He opened the door to a small plank where he told her to step out to the line. She looked back at him and said “I’m going to fall” He responded, “NO. You’re going to jump! On the count of 3, ready?” “YA!” She looked down at Kitty and all the people cheering her on that were the size of ants. She did a few fist pumps, spread her arms out like a new pair of wings and when she heard 3 she jumped up into the air. It was the most amazing free fall she had ever experienced.

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Santa’s birthday was the BEST one yet, which only means one thing. Getting old means that life simply gets more and more amazing. Santa wants to say thank you to Kitty for making it so special and thank you to all her old and new friends that made this day everything it was. 26 is off to an incredible start!

Here is a video that Kitty made Santa for her birthday. It is one of the BEST walks down memory lane.

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Boryeong Mud Festival

Last weekend Kitty and Santa set out on a trip to Daecheon Beach for a mud festival with a group of 70 other foreigners from Gwangju.  It just so happens that this festival was over the same weekend as their beloved Country Thunder (CT). For those of you who don’t know, Kitty and Santa have been attending CT for 13 years now. They go every year  to this 4 day festival with their best friends and family to camp, listen to some great music and socialize with hillbilles.

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Christmas in July, Good ol Country Thunder

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They decided mud fest was the next best thing to paying two grand to fly back to the US for a four day getaway in the corn.  Saturday morning they met their group at the bus terminal to start the 2 hour trek to Boryeong South Korea; a small town on the west side of the country.  Being surrounded by foreigners made it impossible to catch any Zzz’s on the bus, so they decided to throw back a few cocktails on the way.

They arrived at their pension (sort of like a shared hotel) at about one o’clock that afternoon.  This was Kitty and Santa’s first experience staying at a pension, and they didn’t really know what to expect.  It turns out that this pension, like most, was a big empty room where about 30 people would be sleeping.  There weren’t beds, pillows or blankets, but just some mats that you laid out to mark your territory.  Kitty and Santa didn’t hesitate; they threw their bags down, slipped into their bikinis, grabbed some beers, and hit the streets.  They made some new friends, ran into some old ones, rolled in the mud, swam in the sea, and soaked up the sun.  Needless to say it was definitely a day to remember.

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Once the sun began to set, they headed back to the pension to shower off.  As you can imagine 30 drunk muddy people, two showers, and one large room, wasn’t exactly the best set up, but they managed.  After the demudification, they picked up some makgeolli and street food for dinner.  As Kitty and Santa made there way to the beach they were  approached by a few new Korean friends that invited them for drinks under the fireworks.  They graciously accepted, and sat gathered on a small blanket, drinking from Dixie cups, sharing stories, and enjoying the show up above.  After a few hours they stumbled on home, curled up on their mats, and fell fast asleep….next to 30 other bodies.

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Jeju Island

Kitty and Santa were told by many Koreans (and by many they mean ALL of them) that Jeju Island was a MAGICAL place and they MUST visit before departing. In fact, since they started teaching in Korea Jeju Island was talked about like a place where Gods dwell. On multiple occasions when Kitty and Santa asked their kids if they could go ANYWHERE in the world, where would they go? The response, without hesitation, was ALWAYS Jeju Island. This place is so incredible that Koreans are convinced it would soon be added to one of the 7th wonders of the world. With it only being a 30 minute flight from Gwangju they booked their tickets and hoped to find some magic in Jeju.

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Kitty and Santa arrived at the Jeju airport in a flash. They walked outside and were greeted with a warm island breeze, big smiles & freshly squeezed Jejudo orange juice. It reminded them of the many vacations they took with their families to Florida growing up. Glowing in the sun they approached their bus that would take them to the hotel. They realized it was about to leave and ran over to bus driver about to hop on. The man started speaking very fast in Korean. Kitty and Santa kept repeating their hotel name hoping that he was asking where they were going. Santa walked over the the bus’s undercarriage and tried to put her bag under the bus when she was jolted from behind. The bus driver shoved Santa over the curb side and then scolded her to get on the bus. Santa was confused and disoriented, not knowing what just happened and she ran onto the bus. Kitty and Santa sat down in the back and looked at each other. “Did that man really just push me like that?” Kitty and Santa couldn’t help but laugh at the obscurity of these Korean bus drivers. The man peeled out of the airport parking lot rambling on in a rage. Sometimes Kitty and Santa look to the heavens and thank the Lord they don’t understand a lick of Korean.

They did some research prior to the trip and found out that Mount Halla is the highest mountain peak / volcano in South Korea and is located in the center of the island. Santa was ecstatic to hear the news, Kitty wasn’t thrilled. They both agreed it would be hard but something they could look back on and be proud of. “I mean, who hikes for 9 hours up 6,398 feet of rocky volcanic terrain?? Kitty and Santa!! That’s who!!” said Santa. “They do?” responded Kitty in a nervous tone. “YAA, they do.” Replied Santa.

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They started the hike at 7:30 AM and hiked to the top. Sweaty and exhausted they ate their lunch with an unforgettable view above the cloud. On the way back down their feet began to throb with excruciating pain. “My feet feel like little balls of hell, they are so hot!!” Kitty groaned. She was not happy and started pointing fingers at the person who thought this idea was so grand. Going down a mountain is supposed to be the easy part but for Kitty and Santa this couldn’t have been any worse. They contemplated calling for a chopper to come rescue them but the wons they had in their bank probably wouldn’t cover the expense.  At one point they stopped to catch their breath and Kitty pleaded with Santa to leave her “Go on without me. Leave me be. I am now apart of the Mt. Hell park” Kitty proclaimed in a zombie like state. Santa peeled her off a rock and they fought back the tears & kept on trucking until they finally got off Mount Hella (renamed by Kitty) around 4:00 PM.  “I gotta start going back to church because I never want to go back to a hell like that again” said Kitty. She announced to the Korean cab driver that her hiking career was over but later admitted ( after she was showered with beer in hand) that she was happy they finished strong. It was definitely a memorable experience and looking back it was worth most of the pain!

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After a full day of hiking they checked into their adorable hostel, cleaned up and set out to explore the island. They ended up falling madly in love with a restaurant named Yongyi that was serving Jeju’s famous Duruchigi, a pan-fried spicy pork & veggy dish that you cook yourself at the table. They ate their once & were hooked for the rest of the week. By their last  dinner they were wearing chef aprons at their family style table, drinking beers, cooking meat & chumming with the staff.

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Unfortunately the Gods of Jeju were not being as corporative as Kitty and Santa hoped and it ended up raining for the remainder of the trip. During breaks between the storms Kitty and Santa flocked outside to see some of the Jeju magic. Some trip highlights were:: frolicking in volcanic rocks, riding horses around the island, chasing waterfalls, eating bug snacks & drinking Korean rice wine with locals in the rain, getting lost in the middle of a rain/wind storm, acting like grammas (wine & backgammon on a Friday night) and cheesing in the Casinos.

If there is one thing Kitty and Santa are good at doing it’s dancing in the rain and this was no exception. They chose to live life to the fullest, shouting from mountain tops and embracing this amazing adventure they were blessed to go on together. Thank you Jeju.

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Lokhee & Anthony’s Wedding!

Kitty and Santa recently had the honor of attending their friend Lockhee’s traditional Korean wedding.  They were quite excited about attending the ceremony, as they knew it would be much different from the western weddings they were use to.

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The wedding was at a beautiful outside venue and the weather couldn’t have been better.  The ceremony began with a little traditional Korean music and dancing, followed by the bride being brought down the aisle in a small ham (pronounced hum) that was carried by four friends of the groom.

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Once at the alter, the bride and groom took their first bow together.

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Following the processions at the alter, there was more dancing, the belly dancers being Kitty and Santa’s favorite.  During the last dance Kitty spotted something out of her peripheral, as she turned to look a little Korean lady had a hot-floured rice cake next to her mouth.  When she went to ask what she was being fed the lady shoved it right in with a smile and said, “Cake!”  Kitty went to warn the other guests around her but couldn’t even swallow the large ball of rice in her mouth.  She saw Santa was next and stood there helplessly as she received the same treatment Kitty had.  Santa had a mustache of flour and was bent over choking as she tried to quietly consume her rice cake.

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They managed to swallow just in time to hear that the bride and groom would both be tossing a chicken into the audience, if you were to catch one of the birds they would be bring you luck.  Let’s just say Kitty and Santa headed towards the back of the small crowd as they saw the birds fly into the air.  Two lucky men in the audience did somehow grab a hold of the birds and went home the lucky winners.

 

 

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Following the ceremony there were drinks, dinner, and more dancing (whats a party without dancing?).  The bride and groom changed into western wear and read their vows, before a few members of their families gave speeches.  The night was capped off with some sparklers and a ride to the bar for a little after party.

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All in all it was a great experience, and a beautiful wedding.  They are so happy they were able to help celebrate the marriage of their new friends Anthony and Lokhee!

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Buddha’s Birthday Bachlorette in Busan

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Kitty, Santa and Krissy packed their bags and headed to the beaches of Korea to celebrate the long weekend. Buddha’s Birthday is recognized as a national holiday in SK, so they decided there was no better time to give Krissy one last girls weekend away before she ties the knot with her fiance in August!! The weekend was off to a hilarious start when they boarded their bus in Gwangju to find they were not the only english speaking travelers with plans to enjoy the beach. It was like being back at home; they could understand all the conversations that  surrounded them and they didn’t like it one bit. After about 30 minutes of taking in the English chatter, they all began to realize what was going on. Did that man behind us just say “Gather around my lords, we have council members to impose. Right now we will discuss our wizards internal fairy rights?!” They started to listen closely as they realized the group behind them were absolutely serious and they were not playing a game. This was real life to them. Kitty and Santa had heard about these fantasy role-playing games called Dungeons & Dragons, but never in their lives had they come across a group of 15 wizards, lords, fairies and warlockes. Four hours on the bus with this talk, and Kitty and Santa felt like they had been in a real life video game. “Will’s outside, but he’s invisible. Lets grab our royal weapons and head to the streets!!” Kitty, Santa and Krissy agreed with the wizards as they jumped off the bus kicking and punching the air. It was time to hit the streets running!!

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The three gal wolf pack checked into their love motel, got ready and met some of Krissy’s friends at their favorite Indian restaurant. After dinner they went back to their hotel to enjoy some Jameson and dress Krissy up in the bachelorette gear Kitty’s Mom so very nicely sent them. It included (but was not limited to) a sparkly sash, bling bling rings, mustaches, beads, buttons, glow sticks and shot glasses. Everything necessary for a  successful night out. The girls headed to Wolfhounds, a fabulous Irish pub that became their home for the next three days. They danced and sang to some classics like: ‘Nsync and B*witched.  Over the course of the night the wolf pack doubled, and even tripled in number.  With vocals like these, they aren’t sure how anyone could stay away.

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The following morning they weren’t feeling too shabby.  The weather in Busan didn’t exactly make them want to run to the beach, so they picked up some Starbucks and decided to walk around a bit.  They came across Kitty’s favorite fair game, and she couldn’t pass it up without trying her luck.  Krissy also decided she needed to take a stab at it.  Although the carney caught them stealing some extra darts, they ended up winning three hand-made shell necklaces.  They ran away with their dollar store jewels, like three of their excited kindergarten students.

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Just down the street Kitty spotted last nights stomping grounds, “Hey, why don’t we go to Wolfhounds and grab some good food.”  They all agreed they were pretty hungry, and headed in to find a table.  As they waited to order, they decided having an afternoon cocktail wouldn’t be such a bad way to kick off day 2.  As they ordered their drinks and a few appetizers, Kitty spotted something that she hadn’t seen in Korea before.…GOLDSCHLAGER.  Kitty couldn’t resist ordering a round for the wolf pack; she knew Krissy would enjoy the golden delicious treat.  Once it hit Krissy’s lips she was in love.  Let’s just say this round led to a few more, and again, the wolf pack began to grow.  They started playing darts, dancing, and Kitty even got her hair did!  Their table was seated next to a lonely ‘lost and found’ box, and they ended up finding some props to wear for that day’s festivities.  It was a long day at the pub, but one they will most definitely never forget.

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The following morning they weren’t feeling as fantastic as they had the day before.  They showered up, grabbed their props, and headed for the subway.  As usual, Kitty and Santa were cutting it quite close.  While Krissy and Kitty grabbed some food, they sent Santa to hold the bus.  Santa was standing in the bus door with one foot on the ground waving to the bus driver to wait just a few more minutes. Luckily, Kitty and Krissy made it before take off time, except the bus Santa was holding was a bus to Seoul….not Gwangju.  They muttered some “mian haeyos” (I’m sorries) as they ran off the bus, and managed to jump on the Gwangju bus before it peeled out of the parking lot.  As they all reclined in their seats for a much-needed nap, they were thrilled to see and hear that there weren’t any  wizards, lords or warlocks on this ride.  Kitty and Santa had never been happier to be surrounded by Koreans.

Although they didn’t see much of the beach in Busan, it was a great weekend celebrating Krissy’s last fling before the ring!! Congrats to their wonderful friends, they will most definitely be missed in South Korea when they leave in July!!

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Philippines – Part 1 – Helmet Heads.

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Kitty as Santa packed their bags and headed to the Philippines for a well deserved week of sunshine on Boracay Island. They arrived on the island of Caticlan where they were told they could hail a tricycle to the boat docks. Kitty and Santa were skeptical of these tricycles they spoke of. If the 7 year olds on the island drove as bad as the 7 year olds in Korea they might never make it to the beach. Kitty and Santa knew this trip was going to be a memorable one from the moment they climbed into the rickety metal side cart on a motorbike and were handed a beer. A tricycle built for 3….or 7 or 10.

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The sound of motorbike echoed in the air as they rode shotgun with their driver, Ramal, down the dirt roads through the lush tropical forest. Warm air blowing in their faces, the sun on their transparent winter white skin and the smell of sunshine, palm trees and freedom in the air (yes, were talking about that amazing scent).  They reached a port where they got on a boat and were taken to Boracay Island. Kitty and Santa checked into their hotel and immediately headed across the street to the beach.

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Paradise greeted them with cocktails and refreshingly happy and welcoming islanders. Kitty and Santa made friends fast while sipping cocktails. Their new local friends, Ramos and Denmar, helped them set up a few activities for the next few days. They watched as the sun set turning the sky into a swirls of orange, red, pink, purple and yellow. Talk about a sunset.

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Kitty and Santa woke up in the morning feeling like they could go for some true R&R after a night of cocktails so they headed to the beach where they paid $3 for a massage under a private cabana, it was worth every peso.

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They soaked up the morning rays & then met up with Ramos and Denmar for a little adventure. Helmet diving! Kitty and Santa had read about this popular tourist activity and decided to give it a try. They headed out on a boat where they were given a brief instruction on how to lower themselves down to the ocean floor with a giant 15 pound helmet on.  The helmet was open and sat on their shoulders connected to oxygen that pressurized the inside of it. Its kind of like when you put a cup in water and the air keeps the cup from filling up, except Kitty and Santa’s heads were going to be in this cup. Their eyes grew big as they started to question this decision. “Are there sharks? What if science fails and water goes into my helmet? What if the oxygen runs out? What if I get lost down there?” The what ifs went on for 5 minutes before the locals shushed them. They put the giant cement helmet on Santa’s head and started pushing her down a ladder into the ocean. A scuba diver waited for her in the water making sure she got down properly without blowing up her head from all the pressure. Once at the bottom of the ocean Santa stood there all alone waiting for Kitty to join her. She laughed hysterically to herself at the thought of what this must look like. Oh wait, here’s a shot.

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Once Kitty was down there with her they both just stared at each other with that deer in the headlights look. The diver gave them a piece of bread to hold and they were attacked by a sea of tropical fish. They felt like they were in a very strange video game. Kitty’s eyes were large with fear the entire time they were down there. The guide tried to get her to move around but she said no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t seem to gain mobility. Santa started to feel like she was going to throw up in her helmet so she tried to get the guides attention. Apparently she didn’t listen very well during instructions and he thought she was saying that she wanted to go for a walk. He grabbed her and kitty and started pulling them around the coral reefs. Santa was turning white in the face when she tried to motion again that she needed to go up. The guide understood but decided to take Kitty first since she looked like she was going to have a stroke. Santa again was left standing alone on the ocean floor, eyes wide, turning in circles slowly wondering if sharks are attracted to throw up.

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After a short 30 minutes back on land they were shuttled off to go parasailing. Santa was feeling shaky but thought being in the air would help so they geared up and latched onto their superman parachute for liftoff. Up, up, up & away!
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Kitty and Santa couldn’t believe how cool this was! The views were breathtaking.
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About 10 minutes into it Santa again became very ill. This time kitty was afraid the wind might forcefully involve her in the situation. Santa braced herself for the worst as they were being lowered down back into the boat. One of the  workers was kind enough to capture the entire thing on Kitty’s camera. They guessed going from the ocean floor to the clouds in the sky within a hour probably wasn’t the smartest idea for someone who has regular motion sickness BUT they would do it all over again!
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Kitty and Santa travel quotes:
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While waiting for the flight attendant to check their tickets, Kitty has her music blaring in ears and leans over to tell Santa a secret. She SCREAMS “HE SMELLS LIKE CIGS REAL BAD!” Then looks back at Santa like did you hear me or was that too quiet. Then proceeds to shout “BAD. LIKE REAL BAD SANTA” Santa dropped her head down hoping the guy didn’t speak english, or couldn’t hear.
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The customs worker in the Philippines asked Kitty if she had any checked luggage. She looked at Santa and grinned like an excited school boy “Did he just ask me if I want chicken nuggets? I love this place.” Santa didn’t have the heart to tell her what was really going on so Kitty politely answered “Of course I do!” She was confused when he took her luggage and didn’t give her any nuggets. Next time Kitty, next time.
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Santa’s hearing is no better:
Guy: “Have you ever been in a helicopter?”
Santa: “NO. What is that?”
Guy: “A helicopter? You don’t know what that is?”
Santa: “No, but I would love to hear more about where I can find one.”
Kitty: “NO. She would just love to HEAR. SANTA HE SAID HELICOPTEEERRRRR!”
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VIVA Las ‘Graduation Day’ Vegas

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When kitty and Santa started their jobs at VIVA English Academy they were confused as to why this Korean school would use the word VIVA, a spanish word, to describe their English kindergarten. Perhaps they were aware of the popular phrase that Kitty and Santa had come to love over the years “Viva Las Vegas”. Well, 6 months into their jobs and Kitty and Santa finally came to realize that VIVA Las Vegas was a large inspiration for the school.

Graduation day. A day in the USA that parents and grandparents love. Families come together to celebrate and honor loved ones for their wonderful accomplishments. Middle school, high school, college and even kindergartens hold this special day so when Kitty and Santa heard that they would be hosting 2 days of graduations they were excited and proud to watch their baby geniuses walk on stage and get their diplomas.

Side note: In most Korean private schools the school year ends around February 25th. Korean children then take a holiday that lasts 1 to 2 days. Yes, we said days. Not a summer, not weeks, not months. The children got a good extra 48 hours tact onto their weekend before they resumed classes the following Monday. Just another reason Kitty and Santa appreciate a good ol’ American summer.

They found out a few months prior that their classes would be doing a full play on stage in front of parents along with some English speeches. They worked hard everyday preparing materials with their kids. The Korean co-teachers would drill the children for their lines, correcting the 6 and 7 year olds posture and making sure every high note was hit during dance rehearsals for row, row, row your boat. Kitty and Santa praised each child for their efforts but feared the co-teachers high volumes of stress as they darted around the room beating the desks with a wooden sticks to the tempo of each movement. They scolded the kids and even Kitty and Santa in Korean, instructing everyone to try harder and give more to their performances.

The day finally came. Kitty and Santa watched as their littles one, dressed in caps and gowns, were awarded their certificate of graduation. This ceremony was met with a long Korean speech from a woman people only know as ‘the General’. The General is the cute little old lady who owns the school and is incredibly feared by all. Next was the Korean national anthem and then the kids would be up to do their plays and speeches. Kitty and Santa followed their classes downstairs for what they thought would be a last minute prep before the kids were back on stage.

As soon as they entered the class room children started ripping their clothes off and the co-teachers ran in circles screaming commands in Korean. Kitty and Santa stood pressed up against the classroom wall trying hard not to get hit by a flying shoe. They slowly began to realize that this graduation day was not going to be like the 25 minutes of cuteness and photo ops like the ones back home. This was going to be a full on VIVA Las Vegas performance. A show with verity and color and 15 costume changes. A show that would put Celion Dion to shame and make Circus de Soleil look do-able by a group of 6 and 7 year olds. This was no ordinary show – this was a Korean VIVA Las Vegas English graduation ceremony.

They stood in shock as the co-teachers dressed the children in flashy bright outfits and taped microphones to their faces. Santa eyes grew big as she saw some of her boys dressed in fairy dresses and belly shirts, it was a very proud and confusing moment for her. “This is what the kids were going to be wearing for the little red riding hood play? A little much, don’t you think Kitty?” asked Santa. Kitty stared in disbelief. A co-teacher ran past them and Kitty got her attention “Teacher, time for play now?” she asked. The co-teacher looked at her in shock “No teacher. Time for DANCE.”

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Kitty and Santa went back upstairs to try to understand the entertainment selection while waiting for their turn to go to the stage with their class. They had spent everyday for the past 2 months rehearsing for what now appeared to be a tiny portion of this production. When did these kids have time to learn all of these dances? Within this 3 hours they witnessed their little ones spin around the stage in a ballet recitale. A hip hop dance off. They rang cow bells to twinkle twinkle little star. Played the chelo like Pablo Casals. Pounded on cajon box drums like professional street artists. Dressed like swedish goat farmers in a swiss bell recitale. Danced around stage with African drums. Performed a full English play. Blew out some whimsical music from their recorders. Gave English speeches on lemons, Santa Clause, science, how to make a delicious Spam sandwich and much much more. Kitty and Santa were exhausted after 2 days of watching these shows so they couldn’t imagine how the children felt. The little ones walked away from VIVA with so much more than an English education….we hope to see them again one day…. strolling around the Las Vegas Blvd.

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